Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Getting Your Novel Optioned for Film

Tonight I'm speaking on getting optioned for film.

I'm using this blog to organize my thoughts but seeing I just open my mouth when I give a talk and spew on and on, I may or may not use these key points listed below. It works out better if I just have a few areas I need to address during a one-hour talk and just talk and talk and talk, in between those key points. I usually stay on topic. I usually stay focused although once I had dental work that had me spitting and slurping and that was distracting.

I try to not laugh at my own jokes when I speak. I also try to say interesting things to keep the room from emptying. Fingers are crossed that I can achieve this tonight at the Whatcom Writers and Publishers Dinner this evening in Bellingham, Washington.

With a background in entertainment and stage work, I am not usually nervous to speak but more like a racehorse at the gate, waiting to run. My over confidence helps in these situations.
Playing Sugar on Stage
My 3-book Dream Jumper Series is optioned for film and although many books get optioned (reserved contractually) I think that the first film will actually get made. When my super agent negotiated the contract, I asked to be a contributing producer and after promises to not interfere and be obnoxious on the set, I got the concession. I'm doing everything I can on my end to help get this movie made.

Here's my points to touch on tonight and a peek at my talk about how to get optioned:

-Write a compelling novel with a unique story that answers a burning question the general public will be interested in
-Make your characters as real and 3-dimensional as possible, with flaws, idiosyncrasies etc
-Have it professionally edited
-Write a one-page synopsis
-Write a three-page synopsis
-Publish your novel and promote the hell out of it, get reviews, have a compelling cover, make the blurb sound like a movie trailer.
-Write a movie tag line
-Learn how to write a treatment and then write one showing marketability of your story
-Make a Pinterest board if you need visuals, Choose A-List actors in the leads
-Get an agent who specializes in book to film or who has connections in film and tv (send the query, the treatment and even the screenplay if you wrote one!)
-Learn to write for tv and screen
-Learn the Hollywood market, see where your book fits in and will sell

-Hollywood likes novels, especially if they have a built-in following
-You don't need fame to sell an idea, it just helps
-Go for a big agency, find who's taking clients, go for the intern or lowest on the totem pole
-Be easy to work with
-Send your treatment to film companies, producers, directors, agents to a)get representation b)get a producer interested
-Take workshops on writing, improve your craft, watch tv, watch movies, learn the craft
-Pitch like your book is the next Harry Potter
-Don't be rude or aggressive, just be available and interested
-Build up your brand and your book concept online
-Be patient
-Be confident

I was lucky to find an agent with connections who knew a producer and the next thing I knew, we were meeting, talking, negotiating, planning and then a contract arrived. More negotiations, more talk and signing.
My 3 book series belongs to a reputable production company that has awesome connections in Hollywood, I trust the company president, and I'm excited.
Right now, I'm waiting for my project to get out of development and into pre-production and that looks like about 6-9 months. My movie is second in line with this film company and it looks like they are filming project number 1 soon.
I wrote the screenplay hoping that someone who is REALLY talented as a screenwriter, will take the thing and make it awesome. My version is the spec screenplay and every day I hope it's good enough to sell this concept to an A list director who will then attract the A list actors and money. That's how it works apparently. The director comes first.
While waiting for someone to get back to you, dream over here at IMDb to check out actors, directors, producers, film companies etc.

So People, keep perfecting your craft, keep writing, keep hoping, and maybe one day you'll get that call that Dreamworks wants your book and Natalie Portman and Chris Pine are starring in the movie version. It could happen. Why not?

KIM HORNSBY is an Amazon #1 Bestselling novelist who lives in the Seattle area and writes books about women in dire circumstances rescuing themselves. Her book series, Dream Jumper, is optioned for film and now in development.

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